Now how many of you have been in India for most of your lives, if not all of it, and have heard of a place called Gandikota. I bet not a lot right? Atleast I’ve an excuse of not having lived in India for the last couple of decades but anyone residing here has no reason to not know about this gorgeous place.
Incredibly popular among the travelling fraternity as the Grand Canyon of India, Gandikota is a village and historical fort on the right bank of the Penna river, 15 km from Jammalamadugu in Kadapa district, Andhra Pradesh. I had no clue about this place until a few months ago when my Dad showed me a video of it and subtly hinted that we should go there to check it out.
Me being me, immediately looked up for the place and was definitely blown away by the landscape I saw in the pictures. Of course India has various such spots that are picking up popularity in recent times; although it’s such a shame that how outside of India not many such places are promoted from a tourism perspective other than the super cliché one like the Taj Mahal, Ajanta & Ellora Caves, Hampi, Kerala, Goa etc. All of those are definitely wonderful places no doubt but these unheard gems definitely makes it a lot more appealing to the overseas travelers / global nomads.
Anyway coming to the actual topic – Gandikota !! The name comes from two Telugu words Gandi & Kota which translate to Gorge & Fort respectively. It literally & physically means a Fort at the Gorge. And boy what a beautiful gorge it is. I’ve been to different parts of the Grand Canyon in USA and of course it doesn’t come anywhere close to that but Gandikota is mesmerizing in its own freaking way.
The road to Gandikota, a 15km stretch from Jammalamadugu is probably the finest roads you’ll find in the region. It’s made well as it’s a tourist hot spot. As you enter the village of Gandikota you actually enter the fort as you drive. Initially I thought it was a grand entrance welcoming people into the area but turns out it was the actual fort built hundreds of years ago. It’s so disappointing to see that it’s not protected as well as it should be, instead vehicles being allowed to drive almost half a kilometer inside the fort before parking & continuing by foot.
Once you park the car and make your way in, a small tourist map shows various points of interest within the zone all of which are within walking distance of each other. From some amazing temple ruins to a gorgeous mosque to a kalyani filled with ‘spa fishes’ Gandikota has everything to keep one occupied for hours together. Of course the highlight of the area though, has to be the Canyon !!
It’s a short 15-20min walk from the car park, during which you pass a number of hawkers trying to sell you little bits and pieces. But it is once you reach the canyon entrance that you literally go “WOW”. It is definitely a sight to behold and you can spend endless hours together just in awe of what you get to view & experience. No wonder it’s a very popular spot to view sunrises & sunsets. Although the day I went there it was a little overcast but that didn’t take away any beauty from the frame at all.
One thing that’s really disappointing is the lack of safety measures at the site. There are so many points up at the canyons where a small slip or a jerk, could be fatal. Yet there are no sign posts nor any personnel up there to keep a watch on anyone. Well I suppose India has too many people anyway, that losing one or two here & there won’t make any difference to anyone except for the families of those who lose them. Such a sad state of the nation when you comes across instances like these.
Anyway the bottom line is – just like how Dudhsagar Waterfalls in Goa, is the most amazing waterfalls in India that not many have heard of or been to, Gandikota is one of the most amazing Canyons that many of them don’t know about or end up going to. If you’re reading this, do take the time out to head to this spot and get ready to be wow’d !!
For pictures, check this link below: